Women composers in the Gaudeamus Prize

Last week I published a run-down of the shortlist for next year’s Gaudeamus Prize. Shortly after posting, comments began appearing on Twitter about the shortage of female representation in this list (2 out of 13). Thea Derks (@tdrks) was particularly concerned:

She went on to ask Gaudeamus directly how many women composers there were among the original scores submitted, and therefore get an idea of how representative this shortlist was of the gender make-up of composers who were engaged with the Gaudeamus prize.

Well, the staff of Gaudeamus Muziekweek (@muziekweek) are to be thanked for their efforts. Over the last couple of days they have hand counted 220 submissions by 189 composers, and today announced that of these 189 composers, just 36 were women:

And so while 2 out of 13 in the final shortlist may not be great, it is entirely representative of the submissions received, and the judges should be considered blameless for the number of women composers featured.

(Edited to add: Of course – and I had forgotten this – GP is judged blind in any case. So the fact that proportion of shortlisted female composers is roughly the same as proportion of entered composers shouldn’t be a surprise. But still, nice to see the stats working out.)

But this throws up a new set of questions: How representative are these figures of the general population of young composers? (They don’t sound right to me.) And if they aren’t, why aren’t more women entering competitions like this? And what difference does this make to the overall visibility of women composers in the wider new music culture?

Update: Composer Lauren Redhead has posted some interesting preliminary responses to the questions I pose above.

The Gaudeamus 2013 Shortlist

Earlier this week the shortlist was announced for next year’s Gaudeamus Prize, the leading international composition prize for young composers. This video gives a little insight into the judging process from the three jury members, Peter Adriaansz, Annelies van Parys and Dmitri Kourliandski:

A list of the 13 shortlisted compositions follows. I’ve included website and soundcloud links wherever I can find them; I recommend listening to what you can – there are some fantastic pieces in here.

Abel Paúl (1984, Spain): The end of lines – 2 flutes, oboe, 2 clarinets, alto sax, percussion, harp, piano, celesta, harpsichord, cello

Alexander Khubeev (1986, Russia): Sounds of the dark time – oboe, clarinet, bassoon, piano, 2 violins, viola, cello

Amit Gilutz (1983, Israel): The Task of Interpretation (a counterpoint to Edward Said) – prepared string quartet, gamelan and electronics

Clara Iannotta (1983, Italy): D’après – flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, viola, cello

Daniel Moreira (1984, Brazil): The King from Papatua – ensemble and baritone

Elena Rykova (1991, Russia): The Mirror of Galadriel – 2 performers on fir and pine tree cones, table tennis table

Emre Kaleli (1987, Turkey): Il voto dell’innocenza – 2 clarinets in B-flat (or 2 soprano saxophones), sine waves, midi keyboard, piano, percussion, electric guitar, double bass (or electric bass with e-bow)

Esaias Järnegard (1983, Sweden): Order, part 1 – flute and percussion

Germán Alonso (1984, Spain): So f**king easy – bass clarinet, horn, trumpet, trombone, percussion, contrabass

Gijs van der Heijden (1982, The Netherlands): Our Primary Differences – electric guitar and piano

Jacob Gotlib (1984, USA): Portrait Sequence (Blanching Out) – percussion duo

Taylor Brook (1985, Canada): Motorman Fragments – SATBar, clarinet, cello, guitar, percussion

Tobias Klich (1983, Germany): Grüntrübe Ritornelle beim Verlassen des Territoriums – prepared, amplified guitar and electronics

Update, 2 Nov 2012: Shortly after I published this post, a few comments appeared on Twitter about the shortage of female representation in this list. See the follow-up here.